Catamaran Vs Monohull Cost

Catamaran Vs Monohull Cost | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

Catamarans and monohulls are completely different sailboats and thus sell new and used at widely different prices.

A new cruising monohull starts around $200,000 to $250,000, while a new cruising catamaran starts at $350,000 and sometimes exceeds $500,000. Used catamarans and monohulls run between $10,000 and $200,000 or more.

In this article, we’ll cover the average costs of monohulls and catamarans, along with why these sailboats differ in price. We’ll also cover average costs of used monohulls and catamarans, repair, maintenance, and docking costs, and the factors that contribute most to sailboat pricing.

We sourced the information used in this article from careful analysis of the new and used sailboat market.


Table of contents

Average Monohull Cost

The average cost of a new cruising monohull in the 30-foot to 40-foot range is between $200,000 and $250,000. This is for a fully outfitted but relatively basic vessel, with few additional luxuries that don’t normally come on modern sailboats.

This is a stark increase from equivalent boats built during the 1970s and 1980s, even when they were brand new. Inflation aside, why do modern monohulls cost so much more than their ancestors?

For one, the cost of materials and labor was generally cheaper back then. Additionally, sailboats built in the 70s and 80s came with less complex systems and lower-quality outfitting.

Since the market changed and now prefers luxury and technology, a standard sailboat of today is more in line with a luxury sailboat of yesteryear. Recent technological developments have brought the prices of standard monohulls much closer to standard cruising catamarans.

Average Catamaran Cost

The average cruising catamaran costs much more than a typical cruising monohull. Additionally, popular catamarans are larger than popular monohulls—between 40 and 45 feet versus 30 to 40 feet. So why compare the prices of two different-sized boats?

We chose to compare unequal sizes because of the popularity of these vessels for the same activities. You’re likely to see couples and single-handers sailing both types of these vessels to the same locations, on the same sea routes, and for the same distance. In other words, their uses are roughly equivalent.

The average cruising catamaran costs between $350,000 and $500,000 new, depending on the size, speed, and level of interior fit-and-finish.

Catamaran Vs Monohull Repair Costs

Catamarans can cost significantly more to repair if there’s structural damage to any part of the vessel. However, normal everyday repairs (such as fixing leaks, electrical systems, and rigging) cost about the same for monohulls and catamarans.

The cost differences between upgrades are minimal as well because systems that work on monohulls also work on catamarans in most cases. All other categories, such as interior repair, hull work, and sail replacement, are usually in line with monohulls.

Catamaran Vs Monohull Maintenance Costs

Maintenance cost varies between vessels based on age, size, and hull construction material. But for typical fiberglass sailboats, catamaran maintenance usually costs a bit more than monohulls of the same overall length.

This is due to the increased strength requirements and more complex engineering. Catamarans need to have structural support between the hulls, which adds an extra system to maintain.

Inspections and repairs also cost more, as the steps involved are more intricate and time-consuming. Routine tasks such as bottom cleaning may cost less on catamarans, as multi-hull sailboats have shallower drafts and require less dive time to clean.

Cost to Dock a Catamaran

Catamarans are somewhat pricey to dock in many locations, as they’re much wider than the average monohull sailboat or powerboat. Catamaran slip fees usually cost about twice as much as other vessels of the same length, normally equating to about $10 to $30 per foot plus additional fees.

Cost to Dock a Monohull

Monohulls cost much less to dock than catamarans due to their narrower beams. In some cases, a monohull is 30 to 50% narrower than a catamaran, allowing multiple monohulls to be moored side-by-side, thus saving money on slip fees.

Monohulls usually cost somewhere between $5 and $15 per foot of length to dock, plus a flat marina fee.

New Vs Used Catamaran and Monohull Prices

You can buy a used catamaran for the price of a new monohull in many cases, as long as your creature comfort expectations aren’t through the roof. But here’s the good news—a well-equipped used catamaran is probably a much better value than an entry-level new monohull.

Based on what we know, a brand new cruising monohull in the 30 to 40-foot range costs about $200,000 to $250,000. A used 40-foot catamaran, built during the 2000s, is much larger and more seaworthy. Plus, catamaran accommodations are usually more comfortable.

Why do Catamarans Cost More?

Catamarans cost more primarily because they’re more complex. A well-performing catamaran requires stronger materials, more intricate engineering, and more careful design.

Conversely, monohulls are fundamentally simple and relatively easy to construct. A basic boatyard with fiberglass molding material and some plywood for lofting can build a full-size monohull.

Catamarans require advanced equipment, skilled labor, and careful construction due to the tolerances and strength required to join two hulls across a wide beam.

This means that there aren’t a whole lot of boatyards willing or capable of building full-size rising catamarans and even fewer located in the United States.

Many well-known catamarans are built by specialized yards in Europe, and only a limited number of hulls are produced annually.

Compare that to a company like Catalina, which built thousands of simple and mass-produced monohulls in the United States over a period of 30 years.

Are Monohulls a Better Value?

So, are monohulls a better value for cruising than catamarans? The answer depends on what you’re looking for and what you consider worthwhile.

If your primary concern is comfort and seaworthiness, then a used catamaran is the best value. This is especially true if you spend most of your time cruising, as catamarans offer superior accommodations and stability at a given length.

But if you’re an occasional sailor or budget-minded cruiser, virtually any monohull is a better value. You can buy a somewhat recent used voyage-ready monohull for less than $50,000—far below the cost of even the shoddiest late-model used cruising catamaran.

Factors that Influence Catamaran and Monohull Pricing

So, what separates a $350,000 catamaran from a $500,000 catamaran, and what benefits do these vessels have over a $250,000 monohull? These days, with build quality remaining mostly consistent across the line, it has to do with handling characteristics, speed, and the quality of the accommodations.

A $500,000+ catamaran is an automated and fully-loaded vessel with top-of-the-line interior furnishings, electrical and mechanical systems, radar, electric winches, air conditioning, and the works.

This is not always the case, but these large and fast vessels tend to be some of the best the boatbuilding industry has to offer. The level of fit and finish is over the top, and the sailing characteristics are exceptional.

A $350,000 catamaran is a solid cruiser. It’s much faster than an equivalent monohull, and it also has miraculous handling characteristics in rough weather.

These vessels have a basic but comfortable interior finish and reliable behind-the-scenes systems. They are still luxury sailboats when compared to any common 20th-century monohull cruiser.

But they’re not earth-shattering sailing yachts. They will last decades with proper maintenance and provide tens of thousands of miles of trouble-free cruising in almost all typical conditions.

The same can be said for a $250,000 monohull. A vessel like this is well-outfitted and probably not a base model. You get many of the same systems found on much pricier catamarans, such as advanced electrical systems and creature comforts.

But you won’t get the speed and rough-water comfort of a catamaran, and you’ll have less open space in the cabin for entertaining guests, living, and moving around.

Used Monohulls and Catamaran Pricing

Used cruising catamarans are still quite pricey, as their desirable sailing characteristics and spacious interiors make them highly desirable. Plus, since catamarans have only recently become popular, there are fewer to choose from on the market.

You can find a nice used catamaran for between $120,000 and $350,000, depending on the size, manufacturer, and accommodations. This varies somewhat by age as well because late-model catamarans don’t depreciate much when they’re still fairly new.

Used cruising monohulls are significantly less expensive. These vessels, which have been constructed from fiberglass and largely unchanged since the 1960s, can be found in good condition for between $10,000 and $150,000.

Monohull pricing depends mostly on the age of the vessel. Anything less than ten years old probably won’t sell much lower than $100,000—while anything 20 or more years old could fall anywhere on the spectrum. A good used cruising monohull averages around $25,000 across the board.

Catamaran Vs Monohull Cost
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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